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Question

What's a good laptop?

by Archeris / July 24, 2013 12:44 PM PDT

I'm looking to buy me a laptop, and have pretty much been going around, and around the web searching for the perfect one. So far, I've not had fantastic results, but I have found some.

First off, let me detail what I'm looking for.

OS downgradable to Win7, if it's not already.

4th gen i7-4700MQ Processor
Though I could live with 3rd gen i7-3630MQ if the price is at least $100 cheaper

17.3" FHD 1920x1080p matte led screen.
No budging room here. It -has- to be FHD.

Full-sized keyboard with 10-key
It's important that it is a -good- keyboard, because I do a -ton- of typing. Backlit would be nice, but not a must.

Bigfoot Networks Killer Wireless-N 1102
or
Intel® Dual Band Advanced-N 6205
In other words really good wireless, meaning at least dual band, because the wifi in my apartment is an absolute joke.

Graphics...I'm not really sure. The Nvidia GeForce series is mostly what I've seen in 90% of the laptops I've looked at, and I'm not to savvy on how fantastic those are, or even what the relative difference is between the 600 or 700 series, etc. Lets just say that this isn't going to be a gaming machine. Probably the most graphically demanding program I'd run is Age of the empires 3.

Ram: Don't care. As long as It's user upgradable
HDD: anywhere from 500GB-1TB.
DVD: Just a regular multi-layer R/W DVD.
USB3.0: 2 min, more would be nice.
USB2.0: Not necessary, but wouldn't hurt.
Battery: doesn't matter. 99% of the time it'll be plugged in.

And finally, price range...Oh goody.
anywhere from $0-999 is alright, though anything past 1k is pushing it.

Examples of what I've found that match what I'm looking for, but are a bit out of my price range.

MSI GE70 2OE-017US
Toshiba Qosmio X70-ABT2G22
HP ENVY 17t-j000 Quad Edition Notebook PC

IdeaPad Y510p Laptop - Yes I know this is only a 15.6" laptop, but Lenovo makes computers that are unparalleled. (slight exaggeration, but it's my opinion.)

As a final note, I am very technological inclined, and mechanically proficient. So I'm very comfortable building/upgrading a laptop if anyone knows if that's more wallet-friendly, and/or there's a really good older gen laptop that's capable of being upgraded.

I appreciate any comments, help, or deprecating jokes anyone cares to deliver. Happy

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All Answers

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Answer
Odd request.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 25, 2013 12:52 AM PDT
In reply to: What's a good laptop?

Why the downgrade? At the office we are installing Classic Shell and moving forward.

-> Moving back to 7 can be expensive (you shell out for a license) and then have to learn or discover all about the drivers and apps to get it working again.

Did you try Windows 8 and Classic Shell? We did and wonder why MSFT doesn't offer that option and get back to work.
Bob

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True
by Archeris / July 25, 2013 3:52 AM PDT
In reply to: Odd request.

Two reasons.

1: I'm extremely familiar and comfortable with Win7, so it's no real issue to install compatible drivers, (assuming said drivers even exist...)

3: I've used Win8 and I've actually had some slight problems, such as bootup is slow, sometimes locking up, (but that's the tile home, not the classic shell). And the fact that I've read that Win8 Microsoft programs such as Word have a few....Issues. Plus I just don't like Win8.

<><><><><><>

As a sub-note I've been doing some more research, this time checking out laptop manufacturers relative popularity, and quality. From my brief research, I've pretty much found that most manufacturers, (especially Asus) Have a ratio of 2:1 reviews. For every 2 good reviews, there's a bad one. Whether it's lacking in quality control, bad customer service, grudging or very disputed warranty, or just plain sub-standard build quality.

In particular I've read reviews for nearly every Asus laptop where someone says they received a defective/bad part and Asus completely stonewalled their attempts to get a warranty replacement, or even in one, blamed the end-user and said he broke it.

Toshiba and HP are better, but I've read that they tend to have crappy keyboards/touchpads. But also that they do have suitable customer service, and are generally fine with quality control, and warranty service.

Sony, I can't really say since I've not done -too- much research. But so far they seem to have all aspects of their laptops in the decent to moderately-good range.

MSI is the only company that I've seen (so far) with 99% of the (extremely few) reviews made for their laptops, that are 5 stars or thereabouts. They have rather generic, bland frame design, but their specs, build quality, pricing, and general support are very good.

I've read that Lenovo's latest laptops, and this one made me wilt with disappointment (how could you let me down, Lenovo!?), all have lower end wifi, and tend to have connection problems, but otherwise, their keyboards, trackpad, build quality, and design, are really good.

What, you may ask after reading all that drivel, is my question. Well, it's simple.

Has anyone had experience with multiple manufacturers, and can validate, or refute these statements?
And what has been your general experience with each of these manufacturer's products, and service?

About the only manufacturer I haven't actually looked at, at all, is Dell...Which I probably should and will.

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You wrote drivers.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 25, 2013 4:01 AM PDT
In reply to: True

But you didn't list those helper apps. The ones the turn on/off wifi and more. I find folk spend months trying to get Windows 7 onto a laptop then I show them my Windows 8 with Classic Shell and more than half admit if they only knew...

Not one maker will support this downgrade and given the office's experiences with 8 (with Classic Shell) I can't write I would ever go back to 7 due to the cost and amount of time lost.

My experiences with the brands you listed are almost opposite. Asus is doing fine, Toshiba is fair on the cheap units and HP absolutely failed me recently and walked on the warranty at 3 months. I had a good working laptop with a defect at 3 months that took 8 hours on the phone, they took it back and that was the last time it worked.

Sorry but that was my last HP as it was dead by their own hand at 3 months and at 9 months still unresolved with calls being answered with "We've done all we can."


--> Back to your Windows 8 issues. We have over a dozen newer laptops that came with 8 and not one has any of those issues so I'm left to wonder what make, model and story there is here.
Bob

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Answer
Let's go with this.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 25, 2013 4:08 AM PDT
In reply to: What's a good laptop?

You have your specs, you found a good model you like so it's just down to one last thing in my view.

Will this maker stand up to supporting you after you install Windows 7?

For now, I've yet to find any maker that will and then I have to add this -> For free!

That is, I know Dell has their business line but support is not free anymore.
Bob

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